AHNU MENDOCINO BOOTS
TEST SERIES BY JERRY ADAMS
INITIAL REPORT - May 04, 2012
FIELD REPORT - July 26, 2012
LONG TERM REPORT - October 01, 2012
Portland, Oregon, USA
6' 1" (1.85 m)
195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started hiking about 45 years ago. My first backpack was 40 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay in the Western half of Oregon and Washington. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 12 lb (6 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, synthetic bag, simple bag style pack.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Deckers Outdoor Corp.
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.ahnu.com/
Measured Weight: 48 oz (1360 g) for a pair of size 12 US Men's
The Ahnu Mendocino Boots are mid weight and mid height boots for hiking. They also say they're intended for "urban exploring" but they look more like outdoor boots to me.
The outside of the boots is full grain waterproof leather. There are some areas around the ankle that have a synthetic material rather than leather, presumably for better breathability. There's an eVent inner boot to make them waterproof and breathable. From the website - the "neutral positioning technology, Numentumô, is designed to provide athletic under-foot comfort accompanied by the ultimate heel stability." I think that means there are some pieces of plastic at the bottom that provide shock absorption and stiffness.
It's 7.5 inches (19 cm) from the ground to the top of the ankle portion of the boot and 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) from the ground to the top of the heel portion of the boot. It's 5 inches (12.7 cm) from the bottom inside the boot to the top of the heel portion of the boot.
The soles look like rubber with fairly aggressive lugs in a unique pattern.
The tongue is padded. There's padding at the top around the ankle. The tongue is gusseted (meaning it's connected to the boot at the sides so dirt can't get into the boot).
There are relatively few pieces of leather that make up the boot - a heel piece, a toe piece, and a middle piece. Many boots are constructed with more pieces. I think it's better to have fewer pieces, so there are fewer seams, so there is less potential for water leakage or failure.
The soles seem fairly stiff, as I flex it in my hands, compared with other boots I've used.
Inner side of shoe. On each side, on the bottom, there are three closed eyelets for the laces. They're not just plain round holes, but are metal with a small hinged piece. There's a webbing loop at the bottom and one on each side above the closed eyelets. Above that, on each side, there are two open eyelets, to make it easier to tie the laces when the boots are put on. The open eyelets are just open hooks of metal with no friction hold on the laces like some boots. The friction hold would be better when tightening the laces, but probably not enough to make much difference:
Outer side of shoe. A small metal "eVent" label:
I got the black color. They also make a smokey brown.
The laces are presumably nylon. They have sort of a rough texture that should make them hold better. I have had some boots in the past that the laces were too slippery and thus difficult to keep tied.
Rear of shoes. There's a unique tab of padding at the top rear. Maybe this is intended to hold onto when putting the boots on? :
Stitch detail. You can see where a couple stitches are shorter and a couple are crooked - a defect, but probably not enough to cause any problem. Since this is the worst I saw, I'd say the stitching is pretty good:
The boots are made in China.
The boots are "warranted to provide normal wear and be free from defective materials or faulty manufacturing for one year from confirmed date of purchase. Any products beyond one year will be evaluated on a case by case basis."
I tried the boots on and walked around a little. They feel comfortable. They are size 12 US men's, which normally fits me well, so I'd say they're true to size. I can't wait to try them on a hike. I'll find out if they really fit good based on whether or not I get blisters.
The Ahnu Mendocino Boots are a mid height hiking boot. They weigh a bit less than typical mid height boots I've tried.
They have an eVent lining, so they should be waterproof and breathable.
They have leather outers and rubber lug soles. They seem fairly stiff so they should be good on rough trails and non-trails. I will also test this.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
May 21 - day hike in steady rain, 3 miles (5 km).
May 25, 2012 - 5 night backpack on Herman Creek in North central Oregon. 35 miles (56 km). 40 to 70 F (4 to 21 C). 9500 feet (2900 meters) elevation gain.
June 28, 2012 - 4-night backpack on Mt Hood in North central Oregon. 34 miles (55 km). 48 to 75 F (9 to 24 C). 7000 feet (2000 m) elevation gain.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
So far so good - I really like the Ahnu Mendocino boots.
On both the Herman Creek and Mt Hood trips, when I hiked in steady rain, through wet brush, and melting snow, my socks stayed pretty dry (a little damp due to perspiration). The leather repelled water a little, but after a while it became wet. This added weight (a boot weighed 24 ounces/680 g dry, 24.8 ounces/703 g after moderate rain) and probably breathability was worse.
On the Herman Creek backpack I did a lot of elevation gain and loss on regular trails, with a little bushwhacking, walking over boulders, and walking on snow. On the Mt Hood trip I did more hiking on snow and a little warm weather hiking. I never got a hint of a sore spot or blister.
I walked on slippery mud and snow and the lug soles worked fine. I slipped a few times on wet branches and rocks but this isn't unexpected.
I did some warmer weather hiking and my feet stayed fairly dry. At the end of the day my socks were slightly damp, but that's what I expect with waterproof-breathable boots. I'll do some warmer weather hiking during the Long Term Test period
I wore lightweight gaiters during the entire test:
I really like the Ahnu Mendocino boots.
* The Ahnus were very comfortable - I never had a hint of a sore spot. I did a wide range of hiking on steep elevation gain/loss and on-trail/off-trail.
* The Ahnus were very waterproof. I did a lot of hiking in rain and melting snow and the outside of my boots were wet for days but my feet stayed pretty dry.
* The boots are fairly breathable, but especially after warmer weather, my socks would get a little damp during the day. This is what I expected - good waterproofness but a compromise in breathability. I'll test this some more during the Long Term Report period during which time I'll do some hiking in hot weather.
* The soles provided good traction in mud and snow. A couple times I slipped on wet branches, but that is to be expected.
* The boots provided good support walking on rough surfaces and on sharp rocks. The soles are stiff. Even though this makes the boots heavier, I like this compared to lighter shoes with less stiff soles for rough terrain.
* The Ahnus are fairly light compared to other waterproof breathable (WPB) boots I have used. That's my big complaint about WPB boots - they're so heavy. Weight on my foot is much worse than weight carried on my back because I lift my feet more. But I like the waterproofness because I walk in the wet so much. The fact that Ahnus are a little lighter is a good thing.
* Since the Ahnus are a little lighter, they must have less padding, so they're not as warm. I won't get good testing of cold weather performance, but they were warm enough down to about 40 F (4 C). I would probably choose different boots for really cold weather.
* The Ahnus are heavier and less breathable than some (non WPB) boots I've used.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Aug 19,2012 - 3 night backpack In Wallowas in Northeast Oregon. 35 miles (56 km). 5000 feet (1500 m) elevation gain. 48 to 74 F (9 to 23 C).
Sept 1, 2012 - 5 night backpack around Mt Hood in North central Oregon. 42 miles (68 km). 10,000 feet (3000 m) elevation gain. 32 to 70 F (0 to 20 C).
Sept 20, 2012 - 4 night backpack in Goat Rocks of South central Washington. 38 miles (61 km). 7500 feet (2300 m) elevation gain. 32 to 70 F (0 to 20 C).
Here I am wearing the Ahnus in the Goat Rocks:
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I have walked a total of 187 miles (301 km), 21 nights of backpacking, and 39,000 feet (12,000 m) elevation gain during the Field Report and Long Term Report periods.
I did mostly trail walking but also did a lot of boulder scrambling and walking on snow. Walking around Mount Hood required lot's of walking across boulder fields to get across stream valleys. In the Goat Rocks there were a lot of boulders getting up to the base of Old Snowy. The stiffness of the soles helped. Lots of pretty steep ups and downs. The temperatures were between 32 F and 75 F (0 to 24 C). I carried up to about 22 pounds (10 kg).
I never had a hint of a blister. My feet were never at all sore. The Ahnus provided good traction under varied conditions. Overall, I am very satisfied with the Ahnu Mendocino boots.
On all three Long Term Report backpack it was fairly warm but my socks got slightly damp from sweat. This is a complaint I have about all waterproof breathable boots. That, and they're a little heavy. But that's the trade-off I get for better performance when it's wet. I got no wet weather hiking during the Long Term Test period, but I tested that pretty good in the Field Report period.
I carefully examined the boots and I see no sign of wear except normal scuffing. All the threads are intact. One of the laces has a worn spot at an eyelet - I'll shift the lace so the worn place is half-way between eyelets.
The Ahnu Mendocino Boots met my expectations in every way.
I never had a hint of a blister or sore spot.
These boots are a little lighter than most other mid-height waterproof-breathable boots I've used.
Plenty of stiffness to do off-trail and bouldering.
The soles provide plenty of traction on snow and mud.
The boots were waterproof in rain and melting snow and when walking through wet brush.
They were warm enough although I never went much below freezing.
The laces stayed tied.
Since these boots are water-proof breathable (WPB) when it's hot my socks get a little sweaty, but not too bad for WPB. I never used them above about 75 F - if I was doing more hot weather hiking I might prefer non WPB boots.
Since the boots are WPB and mid-height, they're heavier than some hiking shoes so theoretically I'd get a little more tired on long hikes, but I didn't really notice this during my testing.
I'll continue to use the Ahnus on backpacking trips and hikes in the future. I'll probably wash them off and treat them to prolong the life of these boots.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
Thanks to Ahnu and BackpackGearTesters.org for letting me test these.
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